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Kern County creates cannabis ordinance with two options

Photo: MGN, file

Kern County Planning & Community Development has created an environmental-impact report for regulating the use of marijuana.

The Cannabis Land Use Ordinance Project is more than 1,000 pages long and has two options.

Option A is to ban all commercial cannabis activities.

"If we ban it, are we going to effectively ban it, even though the state of California has legalized it?" said Director of Planning Lorelei Oviatt.

Option B is to regulate all commercial cannabis activities.

"It could be another kind of industry that produces jobs and revenue," said Oviatt.

Recreational marijuana use is legal in California after Prop 64 was passed last November.

MORE | What you need to know about legalized marijuana in California

This means that adults who are over 21 can carry, transport and use up to 1 ounce of marijuana. This also includes growing up to six plants.

On Jan. 1, 2018, the state of California will start giving out growing licences, and Kern County wants to be clear on the rules.

If the county votes to crack down on marijuana, there will be no growing and no dispensaries.

To make sure the law is followed, the county would create a task force.

"A task force would cost up to $2 million," said Oviatt.

If it is regulated, there will be testing, limits on the number of dispensaries, and work permits.

"A dry cleaner has to get all of these permits. Why should these operations not have to get these permits, too?" said Oviatt.

Regulations will be from seed to sale in both commercial and medical use.

Marijuana expert TJ Esposito said that regulation is what Kern County needs.

"Regulating is going to bring in a new tax pace, also create a safer environment for the people working in those places," he said. "It's going to create a safer environment for the grows and the people using marijuana. We have to diversify. Oil isn't coming back, agriculture is up and down."

A public briefing on the two options will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 22 at Kern County Administrative Center, Chambers of the Board of Supervisors, 1115 Truxtun Ave.

The board will be taking comments and concerns during this meeting. Sept. 11 will be the last day for comments.

No decisions will be made until October.

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